Valentina Lo Sardo

Position title: Assistant Professor


Phone: Phone: (608) 265-5624

RESEARCH INTERESTS - Genetic risk factors in cardiovascular disease and cancer, role in cell fate and state determination, ethnicity-based risk for disease

Headshot of Dr. Valentina Lo Sardo
Address: 4533 WIMR II – 1111 Highland Ave. – Madison, WI 53705
Visit the Lo Sardo Lab Website



Ph.D., University of Milan, Italy
Postdoctoral Research, Scripps Research, La Jolla

Positions available: Postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and technicians. Please email Dr. Lo Sardo directly with CV.


Genome-wide association studies provide increasing evidence of linkage between common genetic variants and complex disease susceptibility. One of the most challenging problems in studying human disease biology is the influence of mutations in non-coding regions. Yet, these are the most common regions identified with genome association studies. Although the number of genetic variants linked to disease continues to grow, their functional impact on human physiology remains largely obscure. My scientific interest is directed at understanding genetic variations linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer susceptibility and identifying their functional consequences at the cellular level.

Research in my lab combines pluripotent stem cell potential and functional genomics to understand how common genetic variants among individuals, including those in non-coding portions of the genome, contribute to altering cell physiology, cell state, and fate commitment. Emphasis is posed on understanding non-coding risk factors, cell-type vulnerability, as well as ethnicity-based vulnerability to human diseases. Using multidisciplinary approaches, including pluripotent stem cell differentiation, genome editing, transcriptomics, imaging, and proteomics, my lab aims to identify new molecular mechanisms triggering cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Representative Publications

  • Mayner JM, Masutani EM, Demeester E, Kumar A, Macapugay G, Beri P, Lo Sardo V, Engler AJ. Heterogeneous expression of alternatively spliced lncRNA mediates vascular smooth cell plasticity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jun 13;120(24):e2217122120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2217122120. Epub 2023 Jun 5. PMID: 37276403; PMCID: PMC10268236.
  • Lo Sardo V, Kamp TJ. Preventing Anthracycline-Induced Cardiotoxicity Using Functional Genomics and Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes. Circulation. 2022 Jan 25;145(4):295-298. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.058128. Epub 2022 Jan 24. PMID: 35073175.
  • Teng EL, Masutani EM, Yeoman B, Fung J, Lian R, Ngo B, Kumar A, Placone JK, Lo Sardo V, Engler AJ. High shear stress enhances endothelial permeability in the presence of the risk haplotype at 9p21.3. APL Bioeng. 2021 Jul 26;5(3):036102. doi: 10.1063/5.0054639. PMID: 34327295; PMCID: PMC8315817.
  • Takayama K, Weaver LN, Lummertz da Rocha E, Lo Sardo V, Gehart H, Vu LP. Introductions to the Community: Early-Career Researchers in the Time of COVID-19. Cell Stem Cell. 2020 Dec 3;27(6):853-855. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2020.11.011. PMID: 33275897; PMCID: PMC7713542.
  • Meckelmann SW, Hawksworth JI, White D, Andrews R, Rodrigues P, O’Connor A, Alvarez-Jarreta J, Tyrrell VJ, Hinz C, Zhou Y, Williams J, Aldrovandi M, Watkins WJ, Engler AJ, Lo Sardo V, Slatter DA, Allen SM, Acharya J, Mitchell J, Cooper J, Aoki J, Kano K, Humphries SE, O’Donnell VB. Metabolic Dysregulation of the Lysophospholipid/Autotaxin Axis in the Chromosome 9p21 Gene SNP rs10757274. Circ Genom Precis Med. 2020 Jun;13(3):e002806. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGEN.119.002806. Epub 2020 May 12. PMID: 32396387; PMCID: PMC7299226.
  • Kumar A, Thomas SK, Wong KC, Lo Sardo V, Cheah DS, Hou YH, Placone JK, Tenerelli KP, Ferguson WC, Torkamani A, Topol EJ, Baldwin KK, Engler AJ. Mechanical activation of noncoding-RNA-mediated regulation of disease-associated phenotypes in human cardiomyocytes. Nat Biomed Eng. 2019 Feb;3(2):137-146. doi: 10.1038/s41551-018-0344-5. Epub 2019 Jan 28. PMID: 30911429; PMCID: PMC6430136.
  • Lo Sardo V., Chubukov P., Ferguson W., Kumar A., Teng E.L., Duran M., Zhang L., Cost G., Engler A.J., Urnov F., Topol E.J., Torkamani A., Baldwin K.K. Unveiling the Role of the Most Impactful Cardiovascular Risk Locus through Haplotype Editing. Cell (2018) PMID: 30528432
  • Kumar A., Thomas S.K., Wong K.C., Lo Sardo V., Cheah D.S., Hou Y., Placone J.K., Tenerelli K.P., Ferguson W., Torkamani A., Topol E.J., Baldwin K.K, Engler A.J. Mechanical activation of noncoding-RNA-mediated regulation of disease-associated phenotypes in human cardiomyocytes. Nature Biomedical Engineering (2018) PMID: 30911429
  • Lo Sardo V., Ferguson W., Erikson G.A., Topol E.J., Baldwin K.K., Torkamani A. Influence of donor age on induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature Biotechnology (2017) PMID: 27941802
  • Blanchard J.W., Eade K.T., Szücs A., Lo Sardo V., Tsunemoto R.K, Williams D., Sanna P.P., Baldwin K.K. Selective conversion of fibroblasts into peripheral sensory neurons. Nature Neuroscience (2015) PMID: 25420069
  • Lo Sardo V.*, Zuccato C.*, Gaudenzi G., Vitali B., Ramos C., Tartari M., Myre M., Walker J., Pistocchi A., Conti L., Valenza M., Drung B., Schmidt B., Gusella J., Zeitlin S., Cotelli F. and Cattaneo E. An evolutionary recent neuroepithelial cell adhesion function of huntingtin implicates ADAM10-Ncadherin.  Nature Neuroscience (2012) PMID: 22466506
  • Tartari M., Gissi C., Lo Sardo V., Pesole G., Cattaneo E. Phylogenetic comparison of huntingtin homologues reveals the appearance of a primitive polyQ in sea urchin. Mol Biol Evol. (2008) PMID: 18048403

For a complete list of publications: